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Incident Name: Sacramento Fire, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Date: 10/01/08
Personnel: Douglas Falconer
Age: 46
Agency/Organization: Arizona Department of Corrections under contract with the USFWS
Position: Superviser for Inmate Crew

Summary: Officer Falconer was a four-year veteran with the ADC and was overseeing an inmate firefighting crew working a wildfire in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge when he suddenly collapsed. Despite lifesaving efforts performed by members of the crew, Officer Falconer passed away from an apparent asthma attack. He is survived by his wife.

Photo credit: Tri-City Fire District, Claypool AZ

Doug Falconer, in nomex Doug Falconer, in nomex


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Maps

Vicinity of Lake Havasu City, AZ (USNG: 11S QU 46 21)

Approximate accident location

 

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Archived Sacramento Fire ICS-209 (Incident Status Summary) from 2008-10-01.
  • Early information from the USFA Memorial Database:
    Later deleted, presumably because Doug was part of the Department of Corrections supervising Inmate Wildland Firefighters. We have many state and city inmate crews that fight fire in the West during fire season. They and their supervisors are considered wildland firefighters if under AD or other contract to a firefighting agency like the US FWS and being paid as such.

    Name: Douglas Falconer

    Rank: Correctional Officer II

    Age: 46

    Gender: Male

    Status: Career

    Years of Service: 4

    Date of Incident: 10/01/08

    Time of Incident: 1400 hours

    Date of Death: 10/01/08

    (Fire) Department: Arizona State Prison-Globe

    Address: 1000 Fairgrounds Road, Globe, AZ 85501

    (Fire) Department (DOC) Chief: Wade Woolsey

    Incident Description: Officer Falconer was working on a fire line with the Globe Firefighting Crew while fighting the Sacramento Fire in the vicinity of Lake Havasu City near the California border. Falconer complained of feeling dizzy and after sitting, collapsed from a medical cause still to be reported. Other officer and inmate firefighters responded immediately to provide emergency medical assistance and made every effort to revive Falconer. Sun City paramedics were summoned to the scene and initiated basic life support measures. Officer Falconer was subsequently transported to the Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, California for emergency medical treatment, where at 1445 hrs he was pronounced dead.

    Incident Location: Vicinity of Lake Havasu City, AZ (USNG: 11S QU 46 21)

    Map View:

    Funeral Arrangements: Pending

    Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending

    Tribute is being paid to Correctional Officer II Douglas Falconer at
    http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/(now removed)

    To date, 93 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2008 as a result of incidents that occurred in 2008.

    USFA does not have a Line-of-Duty-Death (LODD) criterion nor does it make LODD determinations. “Please note, running totals of firefighter fatalities used on these initial notices do not necessarily reflect the number of firefighter fatalities used in totals for the (provisional) summary.

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Wildlandfire.com Links

 

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Fire Crew Corrections Officer from Arizona dies on the line

    10/2/2008 | Online Article (no longer online)

    A corrections officer working with an inmate firefighting crew died Oct. 1, shortly after the crew began working to contain a fire near Lake Havasu City, according the Arizona Department of Corrections.

    The officer, Douglas Falconer, 46, apparently died of natural causes, the agency said in a statement released Oct. 2. No more details were available. "Officers and inmates alike responded immediately, and emergency medical assistance made every effort to revive Officer Falconer," according to the statement.

    Falconer was assigned to the Arizona State Prison Phoenix-Globe inmate wildland fire crew. The crew is stationed at the prison in Globe. Falconer become a state corrections officer in 2004, working with the crew since July 2007.

    On the field, two corrections officers and a sergeant team up to oversee each of the prison system's 15 hotshot crews. The Globe crew was working on a fire line to contain the Sacramento Fire near the California border at the time of Falconer's death. The crew had responded to seven previous wildfires in the past two seasons, DOC officials said.

    Falconer is survived by his wife. Flags at state facilities will be lowered to half-staff the day of Falconer's funeral services, which have not yet been arranged.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Tri-City Fire District, Claypool AZ: Doug Falconer Memorial Page (no longer online)
  • Arizona Department of Corrections: ADC Families Honored For Loss
    February 10, 2009 (excerps)

    The 100 Club of Arizona and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl teamed up to honor the memories of fallen Arizona law enforcement officers and firefighters, including three members from the Arizona Department of Corrections during the 14th annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl football game. The families of CO II Victor Sosa, CO II William O’Neill and CO II Doug Falconer, along with the families of five other Arizona law enforcement officers and firefighters, were invited to Phoenix University Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on January 5 to be part of a special ceremony that was held on the field during the game. As part of the event, family members were invited to a pre-game event at the Fiesta Bowl Stadium Club and given tickets to the game. They were also presented special Fiesta Bowl footballs with the names of their family member inscribed onto them.

    As family members gathered on the field, the names of the fallen officers and firefighters were read to the stadium audience, with their pictures displayed on the large video screens at each end of the stadium. The normally loud and boisterous football fans fell silent in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and when the last name was read, the stadium erupted in applause and a standing ovation.

    Fiesta Bowl board member Steve Horrell, who also sits on the board of the 100 Club of Arizona, says “When the families returned to their respective seats after being on the field, everyone around them stood and applauded again. The crowd’s response was awesome.” Horrell says this is the second year in a row they have hosted a 100 Club event during the Fiesta Bowl and while they plan on making this an annual tradition, they look forward to a year when it is unnecessary.

    Specific acknowledgement of Douglas Falconer:
    CO II Douglas Falconer passed away on October 1, 2008. Officer Falconer was a four-year veteran with the ADC and was overseeing an inmate firefighting crew working a wildfire in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge when he suddenly collapsed. Despite lifesaving efforts performed by members of the crew, Officer Falconer passed away. He is survived by his wife.

Photo credit: Tri-City Fire District, Claypool AZ

Doug Falconer, relaxing Doug Falconer, relaxing

Photo credit: AZ Department of Corrections

Doug Falconer Doug Falconer

 

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Contributors to this article:  Michael Martin,  Mellie

 

 

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